Where did my chapters go?

I have lost the first half of my work! I have been writing in my usual messy way, and decided it was time to put things in chronological order. I used the highlight- move and research for some material and most of it appears to be there. For the actual text, I used highlight- move and it vanished. I tried to drag and drop the files to the place they would belong chronologically and poof! they are missing. The file titles are no where, the text is no where aside from a small piece I found in trash.
I also have some material in a separate project I may or may not decide to use, and I do not dare try to relocate it in the main project.
I feel very incompetent and now at what was 150,000 words am afraid to do anything at all! HELP!

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Hi Avcrowbar.
Welcome to the forum. :slight_smile:

First thing I’d do, is check to see if your files you didn’t drop inside another file.
Like this :


View/Outline/Expand All
. . . . .

You can also search for some text you remember from one of those files :

or Edit/Find/Project Search

. . . . . . . . .
All the files you would have moved in one go would be in the same place.
So, find one, find them all. :wink:

. . . . . . . .
Files are never deleted from a project without first going to the trash bin.
So, if your files are not in the trash, don’t worry, they are somewhere still in your project.

Thank you. I did find some bits via search, but my concern is how do I get them where I want them? I am afraid to try “Move” again and I almost just want to reassmble the whole thing somewhere rather than continue to lose things

If you are having a hard time moving documents around using the mouse, you can use Ctrl+keyboard arrows.

Moving documents up and down the binder using the mouse is hard at first.
The trick is to have a steady hand.


(Unless that’s what you want. That file inside that other file.)

You can select files in the binder, then right-click and use this, if you prefer:
But that forces you to move the files inside another file. So if you opt to do it this way, create a new file or folder first, in which to move everything.

. . . . . . .
About using search:

The point here is to find where your files are.
So if you found one, click on it in the search results.
It’ll display the file in the editor.
Then, right click the file’s icon in the editor’s header and

This will display your file selected in the binder (as opposed to in the search results).
Likely all of your missing files are gonna be right there along this one file ; ready to be rescued. :wink:

The other option to try is add some toolbar icons to help navigate by going to View>Customize Toolbar and adding and moving icons very similar to word. You can add expand all and collapse all items in binder which may help you find text. or keyboard command Alt +] or Collapse all Alt + [ and see if can find writing. If you save your projects and should set this up going to an earlier saved version of the project before you attempted moving might restore things. If you are going to do a lot of reorganizing, do a manual backup before starting in case things get messed up as well. File>Back up>Back up to and save a file somewhere that is easy to find. Most likely nothing is lost. Information is lost only when empty trash, though can copy and replace existing text.

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Thank you. Searching for words I am able to find pieces but how can I tell where they were moved to? They don’t show up in trash or under any existing icons. They seem to be hidden. I did backup as suggested .

See the last part of my previous post.

Thanks I was so overwhelmed I missed that. Somehow everything I moved ended up making new subfolders under subfolders under subfolders. Clearly I lack the steady hand to move things with the mouse. If things were out of order before, they are utter chaos now.
Is there a tutorial that would help me with this stuff? I think it might be too basic…

When you say you highlighted and moved things, do you mean you a) selected documents in the Binder and dragged them to somewhere else in the Binder, or do you mean you b) selected some text inside a document and dragged that to the Binder area?

I am away from my laptop, so can’t test, but I suspect you did the latter, and this is what has caused some confusion.

If you want to rearrange or distribute the text within a document, it is perhaps best to first split the document (cmd-K) at all the desired joints and then move the resulting docs around in the Binder.


p.s. I also suspect you are using tab characters in your text as this might explain why chunks of text showed up in subfolders (just a guess).

Yes, there is a tutorial. You’ll find it on the Help menu.

If you’re worried about making things worse, make a backup before you start. File → Backup → Backup Now makes a backup to Scrivener’s automatic backup location. → Backup To makes a backup to the location of your choice. (You can find the automatic backup location by looking at the Backups Preferences pane.)

Another trick is to hover the mouse over the quick search window in the toolbar to see the current word count of all the files in the draft. This way know approx. number of words that are there currently.

Thanks. CMD-K does nothing?
I would like to just take the pieces from the various projects and files and re arrange them in a new file, but again, I cannot figure anything out. I tried copy but it just made a duplicate within the original project. AT present I have pieces in four different projects and none of them are in order. When I try to drag and drop to change the order of subfolders in a folder, it just sticks it at the end of the folder. I am ready to hire someone to fix this mess.

These are known as “dragon droppings” and are common to any application that lets you move things around by dragging. FWIW it gets really bad when multiple users are accessing an application such as SourceSafe where entire projects can get lost that way.

Getting back to the subject at hand, I don’t see a way to “undo” a move within the binder. I am somewhat new to Scrivener so I may not have found that feature yet, if so I am sorry. If this doesn’t exist could it be a feature request please?

ETA: Before I do a lot of rearranging in the binder, I make sure to export my project to Word, including the document titles, so I can view it there in Outline mode and compare it with the binder in Scrivener. I undid a gigantic dragon dropping yesterday that way. Hope this helps at least for future dragon droppings.

Create a new project.

Drag and drop from the old to the new. (This will act as a “copy-drag” automatically, the document will remain in the same location in the old project.)

Consider using the Corkboard or Outline view instead of or in addition to the Binder.

I am sorry to be so primitive, but my dragging and droppin skill sucks. Are you saying to have two projects open on a split screen?

You can open each project in its own window and position them wherever is convenient.